‘Renaissance man’ Neiuber is city’s Fourth of July grand marshal
by Steven Felschundneff | email@example.com
On the Fourth of July, Indian Hill Boulevard will be center stage for Claremont’s celebration of American independence. Look for Courier columnist John Neiuber leading the pack as the parade’s grand marshal.
Neiuber has certainly earned the recognition. Since moving to Claremont 20 years ago, he has been actively involved in community service and has volunteered on numerous boards and committees, all while working as CEO and chairman of two local nonprofits.
Looking at Neiuber’s resume, it’s difficult to think of a local organization he has not impacted in some way. He is the president of the board of directors for Claremont Heritage, under which authority he writes the “From the files of Claremont Heritage” column for the Courier. He is also the chair of the arcitectural commission, which makes critical decisions about maintinaing design and aesthetic standards for new construction in Claremont. In addition, Neiuber serves in leadership roles on the Claremont Chamber of Commerce board, as well as two nonprofits, Trinity Youth Services, and the Children’s Foundation of America, where he is now the CEO emeritus.
“I like to stay busy,” Neiuber said during a recent visit to his home on Indian Hill Boulevard in the Village. “I just think over the years and positions I was in [including] CEO, I developed a lot of skills that are handy for working with nonprofit organizations.”
Still, when the city called he was “completely taken aback” to learn he had been selected as the grand marshal of this year’s parade.
“I was just flabbergasted and surprised, and I realize this is unlike me, but I [was] at a loss for words,” Neiuber said about receiving the news. “But it is a real honor, and I am happy that people recognize the things I have done on behalf of the organizations in the city.”
Children’s Foundation of America Director of Development Jenelle Phillips nominated him to be grand marshal. She said Neiuber, who hired her to be a part of the nonprofit, has a gift for recognizing potential in people and helping them engage those skills to achieve success.
“I will forever be grateful to John for taking a chance on me,” she said. “The nomination really doesn’t come from just me. It comes from all of us who John has worked with and inspired. John has become a great mentor. He sees people’s potential and draws it out of them. He is an exceptional leader and has contributed so much to our community.”
“The dictionary definition of a ‘Renaissance man’ is ‘a person who has wide interests and is an expert in several areas,’” said Cher Ofstedahl, who succeeded Neiuber as Trinity Youth Services CEO after he retired in 2020. “That sums up John Neiuber. John has used his expertise to benefit Claremont in numerous ways — through his leadership and service on several nonprofit boards and city commissions, and more widely, through his column in the Courier.”
Most recently he agreed to join the board of the Claremont Courier, which just passed the one-year anniversary of becoming a nonprofit newsroom.
“John has enormous experience, and he is a real idea guy,” Courier President and Publisher Peter Weinberger said. “And he backs it up by actually helping to get the job done.”
When Weinberger decided to expand the Courier’s board from three to five members, he specifically sought people with experience in the nonprofit world, who understood the challenges and could assist with fundraising. Neiuber is a perfect fit in that regard given his extensive background as both a board member and running an organization from the CEO’s office.
“First of all I love newspapers,” Neiuber said about his decision to join the Courier’s board. “My grandfather was a newspaper publisher, at one time he owned the Chino Champion, and a dairyman’s magazine. So I have really fond memories of growing up around that newspaper office in the days when it was the smell of ink and linotype machines. When Peter asked me, I thought this is a real opportunity for me to help out, especially at a challenging time when small newspapers are going out of business left and right. So, if I can somehow help with that and lend my expertise, I am more than happy to do that, especially with the challenges that newspapers are facing.”
Part of what he brings to the board will be looking for new opportunities to help the paper expand its operations and ensure it remains on stable financial ground.
“When you run a nonprofit, you just can’t do the same thing over and over again and expect growth, you have to look for those opportunities. I think one of my strengths has always been finding opportunities and new things that a nonprofit can do. Maybe there are things that we can look at to enhance the revenue for the newspaper so that it stays in business and people stay employed,” Neiuber said.
On July Fourth, Neiuber and his wife Karen will have friends over in morning for breakfast and refreshments before heading over to Memorial Park for the opening ceremonies. After the parade, the plan is to attend the fireworks show, which are back thanks to the very rainy winter.
“To me [Fourth of July] is about freedom and equality, the things that this country was founded on,” Neiuber said. “Not that when it was founded everybody had equality, but I think we have been working toward that for a long time. As long as you are working toward that, it’s what you can hope for. This [republic] is the grandest experiment, and that has worked so far.”
More info on Claremont’s Fourth of July festivities is at ci.claremont.ca.us.